X-ray scan at Spanish border finds child stashed inside suitcase
An eight-year-old boy has been handed over to Spain's child protection
services after he was found curled up in a suitcase as a woman
attempted to smuggle him across the border from Morocco.
Guardia Civil agents noticed that the 19-year-old woman was reluctant
to pass through border controls at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta,
andasked her to place her fuchsia-coloured, wheeled suitcase in an
x-ray machine, expecting to find drugs or illegal merchandise inside.
Instead, the figure of a young child was clearly outlined in the x-ray.
When guards opened the bag, the boy emerged from the suitcase scared
and confused, telling authorities that his name was Abou, he was eight
years old and from the Ivory Coast.
The woman accompanying the boy, identified as a Moroccan national, was
A Guardia Civil spokesperson said the boy was in a terrible state and
that the situation "could haveended tragically".
Less than two hours later, the Guardia Civil flagged a man originally
from the Ivory Coast and currently a resident of the Canary Islands as
he crossed the same border.
When they showed him photos of the young boy in the suitcase, he
admitted that the boy was his son.
"I just wanted to take him with me to the Canary Islands," he
reportedly told the agents.
He was arrested and the child was put in the care of child protection services.
Police said the young woman was not related to the boy and said they
believed that the boy's father had paid her to attempt to smuggle the
boy into Spain.
Each yearthousands of migrants risk their livesto cross into Spain
through the northern Africa enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, hoping to
find a better life in Europe.
Last year fewer than 5,000 were successful in making it across the border.
As Spanish authorities step up efforts to crack down on the migrants,
many have become more creative, resorting tostowing away in
false-bottom carsor in shipping containers.
Credit: The Guardian